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What is the best way to help the migrants?

04 September 2015


Sir, — This will sound rather churlish and bah-humbug-ish, as I write in gentle criticism of the parish in the diocese of Truro who have collected a remarkable amount of clothing and goods in support of the refugees in Calais (News, 28 August).

I really do think that the Church, locally and nationally, must seriously heed the long-established mantra “Think globally, act locally” when it comes to responding with compassion to the overwhelming chaos of a world deeply and profoundly “on the move” from poverty, violence, and oppression to perceived safer shores.

Lorry-loads of Christian love on 600-mile round trips, for environmental and pragmatic reasons, are not the most effective way of reaching out to people in need. There are, no doubt, Christian communities in Kent and around Calais who would much appreciate our Cornish help, in financial resources, so that they, the local incarnations of the gospel, can respond in the most appropriate ways.

They can even respond to the desperate need of the refugees by actually asking them what would best help to meet their need. Clothes, food, advice, sharing in their worship, building relationships — all of these are best met by local response and local advocacy.

Please, no more lorry-loads of “compassion” clogging up already crowded and pollution-laden transport systems. Let us use such local passion and commitment to empower the local elsewhere and thus transform the global agenda.



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